Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota

Summer is wonderfully busy in Minnesota with so many exciting events and activities. However, the transition of the seasons from Summer to Fall brings empty nesters, like us, the opportunity to recharge our batteries by planning a weekend away to escape from life and put the everyday hustle and bustle of life on the back burner. Stillwater is the perfect destination for relaxation, wonderful food, and a great atmosphere to soak in the fading summer days. In this article we will show you The Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota.

1 Stroll the Quaint Historic Town -Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota

Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Out for a Stroll on Main Street – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

Discover Stillwater invited us to come to Stillwater to be their guests and discover the charming birthplace of Minnesota ourselves. Of course we gladly agreed to their ideas and this was particular late summer weekend that we were able to make it happen.  So come along for the ride and get some ideas for your next adventure to Stillwater.

The first most important thing to do in Stillwater is to just walk around the quaint town. There is so much to see and so much to do and the best way to take it in is to walk around and discover it. The best part of walking around is that you can burn up all the calories that you consume along the way.

2 The Rivertown Inn Bed and Breakfast -Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota

Front Fountain -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Front Fountain -The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

We love the character and charm of staying in Bed and Breakfast establishments, allowing us the ability to connect with the owners and other guests, or just shut the doors and reconnect with each other. Each B&B has its own personality and unique stories and Stillwater has many options to offer. During this visit to Stillwater, The Rivertown Inn was the perfect place to escape for a romantic rejuvenating get-away.

Out Front - The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Out Front – The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

At this fabulous award-winning mansion turned boutique-style Bed and Breakfast, the owners, Jeff and Julie Anderson have thought of every detail to ensure their guests are welcomed and treated like royalty.

European Elegance -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
European Elegance -The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

The Rivertown Inn, with its European-style elegance and it’s author inspired themed guest rooms are filled with antiques matching the era and theme of the room.

European Elegance -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
European Elegance -The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

The minute we walked through the front doors, we were transported back into a simpler time and the stress of everyday life melted away. We were offered a glass of wine and some snacks which was the perfect start of the weekend!

Gardens -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Gardens -The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

General Manager Larry Loyer

Upon arrival, General Manager Larry Loyer took it upon himself to give us a tour of the house, which included answers to all of our questions about the interesting history of the house. You can tell, he loves what he does. Then he took us to see the beautiful grounds, and gardens.

The Carriage House

One highlight was when he took us into The Carriage House to see the amazing Grand Suites.

The Agatha Christie Suite was designed after the book Murder on the Orient Express, complete with train depot, train cabin and the orient.

The Arthur Conan Doyle Suite was so perfectly Sherlock Holmes.

Rich walnut parquet floors, shelves aside the fireplace filled with Doyle’s works, a richly detailed map of London in full view from the luxuriously appointed king-sized bed below are only the beginning of the story: a stay in this suite is full of discoveries and surprises where no detail is too small.

The Browning Suite

The room that we booked was the Browning Suite. It was perfect beyond anything we had expected.

The Browning Suite -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
The Browning Suite -The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

This suite is a fitting tribute to the love story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, two of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era. Large windows give guests tranquil garden views below, while rich chocolate-brown wallpaper featuring colorful urns, birds and flora set the perfect backdrop for a spectacular Rococo Revival half-tester walnut bed.

The Browning Suite -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
The Browning Suite -The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

An opulently carved marble-topped boudoir table is the throne of femininity while bookcases flanking the fireplace lend an air of literary elegance. A beautiful stained glass window adds serenity to the bath featuring a deep rectangular tub and a luxurious shower.

 


Watch the Video Tour of The Rivertown Inn

3 First Friday In-House Dinners at the Rivertown Inn

At the Rivertown Inn, on the first Friday of the Month, they offer the opportunity to experience a culinary tour around the world with a four-course dinner offering and drink pairing on site.

First Friday In-House Dinners with Chef Maggie -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
First Friday In-House Dinners with Chef Maggie -The Rivertown Inn – Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities

We’d heard great reviews about the chef Maggie Wescott and were looking forward to the event. The Rivertown Inn menu features locally grown or sourced clean foods and fresh flavors. This month they were serving a Farm-to-Table Dinner

This is the menu for the evening.

Nasturtium Salad

First Friday In-House Dinners with Chef Maggie -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Nasturtium Salad

Savor Melon, Marcona Almond
Chevre Goat Cheese
St. Croix Vineyards – Frontenac Blanc
Herbed Iced Tea

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Watermelon Gazpacho 

Red Pepper, Tomato, Cilantro
Summit Brewing – Dakota Soul
Sparkling Lemonade

Pork Loin Roast

Pork Loin Roast -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Pork Loin Roast

Millet Polenta, Portobello Mushroom
Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Pesto
Wilted Kale, Creamy Lemon Dressing
St. Croix Vineyards – Marquette
Dry – Juniper Soda

Brown Butter Apple Tart

Brown Butter Apple Tart -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Brown Butter Apple Tart

Salted Caramel Sauce
Thor’s – Apple-Ginger Hard Cider
Aamodt’s – Sparkling Cider

Menu created by
Chef Maggie Wescott

As you might be able to guess, the dinner was amazing!

4 Gourmet Breakfast at Rivertown Inn

Since we’d experienced a culinary delight the evening before, we were looking forward to the gourmet breakfast at the Rivertown Inn and we were not disappointed!

Menu

Gormet Breakfast Menu -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Gourmet Breakfast Menu

Berries with Mint

Berries with Mint -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Berries with Mint

 

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Muffin

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Muffin -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Muffin

 

Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato Quiche

Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato Quiche -The Rivertown Inn - Stillwater Minnesota Best Getaway Near Twin Cities
Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato Quiche

Well after a meal like that I think we are all fueled up for a busy day!

5 Stillwater Trolley Tour

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When visiting a big city or small town, we love to take tours to get to know the history and people of the area. The Stillwater Trolley Tour was the perfect choice, with the trolley driver expertly filling us in on the facts and fascinating stories of the city. The trolley meandered throughout the downtown city streets, often stopping for explanations and photos.

6 The Freight House

"Frieght

For centuries, the beauty and natural treasures of the St. Croix Valley have drawn people to the area which is now Stillwater. The first to call this area home were the Sioux and Chippewa Nations. Later, the first traders and trappers in Minnesota Territory settled here.

By the mid 1880’s, railroading and river activity helped build the community into a bustling town of 13,000 people. Stillwater became the trade center for miners and trappers to the North, and farmers and lumbermen to the West. The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad eventually saw a need for a freight depot.

The builders set to work using heavy mill timber; two foot thick limestone foundation walls, and eighteen inch exterior walls hovering thirty feet high. Flooring four inches wide and one inch thick were milled from the maples found on the river islands nearby. Finally, the heavy ceiling trusses were placed, carrying the full weight of a solid slate roof.

The depot was finished in January of 1883, handling as many as seventy rail cars a day, and housing the areas telegraph office. In later years, Curtis Feed and Coal and the Farm Service Store operated out of the “Freight House,” as it was now called. In 1970, the Milwaukee Road Railroad closed the agency and the building was sold.

We have a better understanding and appreciation for the importance of Stillwater to our state as well as hidden gems in the city of Stillwater.

7 Isaac Staples Sawmill

"Issac

Isaac Staples’ Sawmill is a historic industrial property in Stillwater, Minnesota, United States, consisting of an 1850 stone powerhouse and a 1900 metal-clad factory. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as St. Croix Lumber Mills—Stillwater Manufacturing Company in 1982 for its local significance in the theme of industry. It was nominated because the powerhouse is the only surviving industrial building associated with Isaac Staples (1816–1898), a major figure in Minnesota’s early commercial development. The property now operates as a shopping mall with upper level apartments.

After the tour we had to quickly go back to some of the most interesting places in the city so that we could explore that gem in more detail.

8 Jeff and Julie Anderson Home

You may know Jeff Anderson is the lawyer who made tens of millions of dollars suing the Catholic Church for child sexual abuse. Well the Anderson home is quite a spectacle. It is a remarkable beautiful space.

Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota

Jeff and Julie Anderson Home – Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota

9 St. Croix Valley Segway Taste of Stillwater Segway Tour

 

Taste of Stillwater Segway Tour
Taste of Stillwater Segway Tour

Another activity that we’ve never experienced was trying a Segway tour and what better place to partake than in a “Taste of Stillwater Segway tour”. This was a wonderful way to try a number of restaurant options, as well as take in the sites of Stillwater and have a great time with the group of folks trying out Segways. Our tour guide, Tony, filled us in on some great stories of Stillwater throughout the day.

Taste of Stillwater Segway Tour
Taste of Stillwater Segway Tour – Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota

After the Segway tour, we found an open bench down by the river and just soaked up the sunshine and took a short nap on the green grass. We decided real exercise was in order. We walked up and down the river walk, enjoying the sights and sounds of happy people strolling on the parkway.

Dock Cafe - ST. CROIX VALLEY Segway Taste of Stillwater
Dock Cafe – ST. CROIX VALLEY Segway Taste of Stillwater

10 Revé Bistro and Bar

Later that evening, we relaxed for a delightful dinner at Revé Bistro and Bar — wow, what a wonderful find! Mike Willenbring is the 28 hr old Head Chef / General Manager of Revé Bistro and Bar.  We had the great honor of having Mike host us for the evening.

Let's Start with Champagne Revé Bistro and Bar
Let’s Start with Champagne Revé Bistro and Bar

He had decided to cook items that were not on the menu for us to give us a very special treat. Here is the menu that Mike created for our evening.

First Course

First Course Revé Bistro and Bar Stillwater Minnesota
First Course Scallop en Croute Revé Bistro and Bar

Scallop en Croute
Seasoned with Lemon Pepper
Served with a Belgian Endive and Watercress Salad with Watercress Pesto and Red Currant Vinaigrette.

Wine: Pasqua Family Prosecco

2nd Course

Second Course French Rack of Lamb Revé Bistro and Bar
Second Course French Rack of Lamb Revé Bistro and Bar

Frenched Rack of Lamb
With Pistachio Crumble and Sautéed Local Wild Mushrooms (chanterelles, lobster, blue oyster, and Shiitake), and Red Wine Reduction.

Wine: Tre Saggi Montepulciano

3rd Course

Third Course New York Style Cheese Cake Revé Bistro and Bar
Third Course New York Style Cheese Cake Revé Bistro and Bar

New York Style Cheese Cake
With Walnut Crumble, Caramel and Raspberry, and Rosemary Whipped Cream.

Wine: Jones of Washington Riesling

Update: Mike Willenbring is now the Owner/Chef of Manger Restaurant & Wine Bar Bayport MN.

Conclusion

As you can see, Stillwater is one of the most amazing cities in Minnesota to visit. There is rich history, great activities and of course amazing food.  You will not go wrong planning your next weekend getaway to Stillwater!

If you have any questions at all about this trip, please reach out and contact me!

And until next time, get out and capture the adventure!

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Top 10 Things To Do in Stillwater Minnesota

Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website
moran.wayne@gmail.com

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